Amazon’s third annual Prime Day ended with a bang.
On Wednesday morning, Amazon announced its Prime Day sales this year surpassed Black Friday and Cyber Monday, growing by more than 60 percent from 2016.
Last year, Prime Day was Amazon’s biggest sales day ever, setting the bar high this go-round. In 2016, Prime Day sales rose more than 60 percent from the prior year, and in the U.S., orders were up more than 50 percent, Amazon said.
On Tuesday morning, a few hours into this year’s event, Amazon told CNBC that customers were shopping at “record levels” worldwide. At the time, Amazon didn’t offer details on what it called record levels of shopping — whether it represented the number of shoppers or another measurement, such as sales or volume.
With nine hours of shopping left on Prime Day, Amazon offered another update, this time saying the event was on pace to be “the biggest global shopping event in Amazon history.” As of 3 p.m. ET, small businesses had experienced a more than 50 percent increase in units sold worldwide compared to last year, the company said.
In the U.S., Prime members were ordering more than 6,000 deals every minute — everything from the Nintendo Switch to headphones to golf clubs.
Also in the U.S., the Amazon Echo was the best-selling item by 4 a.m. ET Tuesday, Amazon said. The Echo was selling for $89.99 on Prime Day, half the usual price. Other top-selling deals included those for Amazon’s Echo Dot, a 23andMe DNA test and Amazon’s Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa, the company said.
Later in the day, Amazon confirmed that it had already sold more than twice as many Echo-family speakers in America when compared to last year, and more than three times as many devices worldwide, compared to Prime Day 2016.
To take advantage of the discounts, shoppers had to be Amazon Prime members, which costs $99 a year, or $10.99 a month, and includes perks like free, two-day shipping and access to Prime Video and Prime Music.
The first Prime Day was held on July 15, 2015, as a way to mark the company’s 20th anniversary, and it proved to be such a success in boosting sales and bringing in new Prime members that the company did it all again on July 12, 2016.
This year, Amazon declared July 11 to be Prime Day, but the savings kicked off even earlier for Prime members and were extended to last for 30 hours, up from the typical 24. Amazon.com was offering new deals as often as every five minutes, the company said, reaching 13 countries and making the day more of a global phenomenon.
Some of the best discounts included those on Amazon’s own electronic devices, such as the Echo and the Kindle. There were also significant discounts on some of Amazon’s private-label grocery and apparel products.
With an Amazon-Whole Foods deal in the works, more online shoppers are seen browsing Amazon.com for supermarket staples and everyday essentials, which notably haven’t been best-sellers for the internet giant in past Prime Days.
“It’s no secret that some of Prime Day’s best deals have been on Amazon products – Audible, Kindle or even Prime memberships,” Maya Mikhailov, co-founder of GPShopper, told CNBC.
Yet, considering how this year Amazon is using Prime Day to introduce customers to the company’s newest grocery offerings, and with tens of millions of Prime members, traditional grocery retailers should be “very worried” this time around, Mikhailov said.
Early signs hinted that Amazon’s annual shopping event would grow in 2017. In a nationwide survey of 1,200 U.S. consumers by Market Track, 58 percent said they would shop Prime Day deals, up from the 34 percent who said they would participate last year.
Internet Retailer projected that U.S. shoppers would spend $1.56 billion on Amazon during the 30-hour sale, representing a 20 percent jump from the trade publication’s estimate of $1.30 billion spent on Prime Day last year. Shoppers around the globe, meanwhile, are believed to have spent a whopping $2.18 billion, Internet Retailer said.
Wall Street continues to monitor how Amazon’s stock is responding to the chatter around Prime Day this year.
Amazon shares closed Monday, prior to the start of Prime Day, up 1.8 percent for the day and up about 4.5 percent from a week earlier. Some analysts were looking for an ever bigger rally. On Prime Day itself, Amazon’s stock closed modestly lower, down about a quarter of a percentage point, at $994.13 per share.